(Corrects to show China approved Kyoto Protocol, paragraph 5)
*China official: Importers must cover climate change share
*Japan aide says U.S., China must be part of next pact
*Climate deal backer says "interim" pact might be option
By Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON, March 16 Countries that buy
Chinese goods should be held responsible for the carbon dioxide
emitted by the factories that make them in any global plan to
reduce greenhouse gases, a Chinese official said on Monday.
"About 15 percent to 25 percent of China's emissions come
from the products which we make for the world, which should not
be taken by us," said Gao Li, director of China's Department of
Speaking at a forum sponsored by the Pew Center on Global
Climate Change, Gao added that "this share of emission should
be taken by the consumers, not the producers" and called the
demand a "very important item to make (for a) fair agreement."
Gao gave no further details of his proposal, which could
nevertheless be controversial as countries like the United
States already fear that controlling domestic emissions will
lead to sharply higher energy prices and possible job losses.
Unlike the United States, China joined the Kyoto Protocol
but is not required to cut its emissions because it is a
China, like the United States, did not join the 17-year-old
Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing global emissions of carbon
dioxide and other pollutants linked to climate change
With an economy that has been booming on its export of
manufactured goods, China's greenhouse gas emissions also have
been growing and are now thought to be around par with those in
the United States, which has been the leading emitting nation.
China is the top source of imports into the United States,
followed by Canada and Mexico.
Backers of a new international deal to control
climate-warming emissions hope a pact is embraced in Copenhagen
in December, although they acknowledge that timetable might be
In the meantime, international interest in curbing climate
change is growing, led by President Barack Obama's pledge to
put the United States on a path to cut emissions to 1990 levels
by 2020, with an additional 80 percent reduction by 2050.
Legislation to create a cap-and-trade system to limit
businesses' emissions could begin moving through the U.S.
Congress in coming months. But enactment of such a bill might
not be possible before the Copenhagen meeting. If not,
environmentalists worry it could discourage other countries
from signing onto a deal there.
But even without a comprehensive agreement, Eileen
Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change,
said negotiators could try to achieve a "strong interim
agreement" that would set forth a framework, possibly including
a range of targets for countries to reduce emissions.
Shinsuke Sugiyama, director general for global issues at
Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the Pew forum that
his government views 2009 as a "make or break" year in
achieving progress on a new global deal.
But noting that the Kyoto Protocol has only covered about
30 percent of global emissions because key economies either did
not sign on or are not subject to its requirements, Sugiyama
warned: "My government is very much determined not to repeat
what Kyodo does give us...in the sense that we were not able to
involve United States of America...and other countries like
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)